Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus
THE BLOG

Two Days in Varigotti, Italy

arrived in Varigotti in northern Italy and was immediately transported to a magical wonderland for film directors and photographers. Isolated beaches, fresh orchids, salty cacti, and gelato-colored homes overwhelmed my senses as I began filming in the cinematic and whimsical style prevalent throughout my Instagram videos and GIFS.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

2016-08-08-1470664209-9590608-1.mikemellia.jpg

I arrived in Varigotti in northern Italy and was immediately transported to a magical wonderland for film directors and photographers. Isolated beaches, fresh orchids, salty cacti, and gelato-colored homes overwhelmed my senses as I began filming in the cinematic and whimsical style prevalent throughout my Instagram videos and GIFS.

2016-08-08-1470664491-399292-8.mikemellia.jpg

I flew to Nice, France, and then drove about 2 hours along the coastline to Varigotti, Italy. The town is absolutely tiny and dates back all the way to the first century A.D. Stone roads, hand-crafted houses painted in bright pastel colors, wild rocky beaches- everything exuded the feeling and personality of the proud craftsmanship of antiquity.

2016-08-08-1470664552-9763967-14.mikemellia.jpg

My one and a half year-old daughter Aria and my wife came along as well, enjoying the fresh salty sea air and the sun that is usually obscured in our home in midtown manhattan. Aria's grandparents live in a nearby Italian town and are always excited to see their new granddaughter.

2016-08-08-1470664348-4336854-7.mikemellia.jpg

Our parents introduced us to local fishermen head out to the sea and return to the local restaurants with octopus and mediterranean sea bass. In northern italy the custom is to lightly grill fresh seafood with olive oil that is so light you could drink it like fine wine. It's the foundation of the mediterranean diet along with fresh vegetables that are barely cooked at all.

2016-08-08-1470664391-401757-10.mikemellia.jpg

2016-08-08-1470664411-9788960-11.mikemellia.jpg

2016-08-08-1470664435-3466263-12.mikemellia.jpg

2016-08-08-1470664456-3609617-13.mikemellia.jpg

During my two days in Varigotti, I became friendly with many of the local villagers in the cafes and in the town square. As I painstakingly carried my cameras and tripods around this tiny village, many older men came out of the restaurants to see what was going on.

It seems everyone wanted to speak to me, the tall strange bearded New Yorker, and before long I had a congregation of at least elderly 10 men in the village square debating the nuances of filmmaking and the best places for cinematography around Italy.

It was a very surreal experience, like something from a Fellini film, and I had a great time!

They pointed me in the right direction and I began walking up the side of a large steep mountain, the road was paved with giant stones placed directly into the earth that seemed to me at least several hundred years old. I arrived at the top where an old colorful building apppeared that looked like something out of a painting or a dream or an old great movie.

2016-08-08-1470664303-8992552-4.mikemellia.jpg

As a photographer and a director discovering something new like this is the greatest excitement because it's like you are seeing everything in the world again for the first time. Visiting Varigotti was such an overwhelmingly visual experience and is a great place to stop if you are driving near the famous cinque terre (the 5 famous towns along the Italian riviera).

Follow along with my adventures in travel photography and looping GIFS on instagram as @mikemellia, or subscribe on youtube.com/mikemellia

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I'm a director & a photographer who loves creating ads for fashion & luxury brands as much as filming quirky video loops of myself on Instagram.
I'm a New York City native and a graduate of Columbia University.
My 1-year-old daughter Aria was named after the most lyrical part of an opera.
One time I debated politics with the prince of Monaco.
I drink tiny cups of espresso all day.